Reading by Osmosis, or, How Nature Interprets Us.
Reading by Osmosis is an investigation into the possibility of non-human authorship. The project revolves around a collection of man-made objects that were all in one way or another altered by non-human forces or entities. In February 2019, I curated a group exhibition featuring only non-human artists at Zone2Source in Amsterdam, showing works made by (among others) the wind, the rain, dogs, and a hummingbird. In December 2019, the book Reading by Osmosis/Nature interprets Us was published by nai010.
Neuroscientific research into the concept of free will suggests that most of our actions are controlled by our subconscious. The will appears to be far less free than we’re inclined to believe. This may also be true for the activity known as “art”. The surrealists, influenced by developments in psychoanalysis, already came to this conclusion. Considering this, would it be too big a leap to view the results of non-human processes, devoid of consciousness, as art?
The title, Reading by Osmosis, refers to the chemical process that forms the base of all known life forms. Reading by Osmosis suggests that all life forms ‘read’, process, and react to the world in one way or the other.
Nature has its own agenda. It is always ready to upend our familiar world. Different natural processes employ different means towards this end, engendering different aesthetics. An aesthetics that surprisingly often reminds us of contemporary art works. It’s clear that it’s not just us who interpret nature, but nature itself that interprets us.
Book published by nai 010
Book presentation at ICI Berlin
Prints for sale: Welikeart
Photography: Sander Tiedema
As an alternative artist fee, we are planting trees. So far, more than 50 trees have been planted by Trees for all
We would like to thank the wind, dogs, mussels, the North Sea, a hummingbird, rain, rust, dust, a spider, mice, moths and all the other animals and processes whose work is featured in this book. We would also like to thank all the institutions and humans who made this project possible:
Everybody who sponsored us trough Voor de Kunst crowdfunding.
Niemeijer Fund, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Municipality of Amsterdam Zuid, Mondriaan Fund, ZK/U, ICI Berlin, Zone2Source, Museumgoed, Residency 11:11, London Canal Trust, Museon Den Haag, SDEI – Senckenberg, German Entomological Institute (DEI), Gananoque Wasp Nest Museum, Glazenwasserij Aanzicht, BPD Kunstcollectie.
Tudor Bratu, Marcus Bruystens, Maria Van Den Broek, Isabel Cordeiro, Bruno Ciaramicoli Cabral, Timo Demollin, Carol van Dyk, Lee Ellickson, Eric Feijten, Lotte Geeven, Rosie Heinrich, Maureen Ho, Arnoud Holleman, Studio IJm, Tomoko Kawachi, La.Va. Productions, Ruth Legg, Daniel Liu, Michael Marder, Teferi Mekonen, Tobias Mulders, Kees Moeliker, Peter Moll, Will Nash, Kerem Ozan Bayraktar, Claudia Peppel, Pia Pol, Johan Rijpma, Gustavo Sanromán, Sebastiaan Schneiders, Tytis Sonnenfeld, Mamoru Suzuki, Sophia Schultz Rocha, Jip van Steenis, Alison Sperling, Alice Smits, Roy Taylor, Elejan van der Velde, Peter Visser, Simon Wald-Lasowski, Andrew Wilson